Antibiotic ResistanceA challenge to modern healthcare that concerns everyone, everywhere
When infections become resistant to antibiotics, we lose our ability to treat them. As a result, previously routine procedures such as C-sections or appendectomies become associated with severe risks for the patients. Urinary tract infections become untreatable and pneumonia can once again become a life-threatening disease.
The prospects for treating serious conditions such as cancer or brain damage are also seriously threatened when we can no longer count on reliable treatment of infections.
Antibiotics have become the cornerstone for the treatment of infectious diseases and contributed significantly to the dramatic global health development during the last 70 years. Millions of people now survive what were previously life-threatening infections.
But antibiotics is a finite resource. Misuse has lead to antibiotic resistance and reduced efficacy within just a few years of introduction of each new antibiotic. We work to prevent the development and spread of antibiotic resistance so that we can protect, maintain and further develop modern healthcare for everyone.
Preventing antibiotic resistance
Our focus is to prevent and slow down the development and spread of resistant bacteria. This is fundamental to ensure that both our existing antibiotics and the ones in development remain effective for a long time. We have started out with a focus on immune-related efforts, since this was identified as a promising but neglected area. Our long-term aim is to build capacity to identify and support the most effective research, education and information efforts across the entire field of antibiotic resistance prevention.
Awareness and behaviour
When both the general public and healthcare professionals have a good understanding of when and how antibiotics should be used, behaviour can shift to avoid misuse of antibiotics that cause resistance. Basic hygiene improvements such as handwashing also prevent the spread of infections. This is a matter not only of knowledge but about implementation and behaviour change.
When people have healthy lifestyles, strong immune systems and access to high-quality healthcare, infections of all kinds become less frequent, spread more slowly and fewer of those exposed become seriously ill and require treatment. This reduces the use of antibiotics and thereby prevents development of resistance.
Effective, evidence-informed policy
A strong evidence base regarding the effectiveness of different policies across both human health and the agricultural sector would serve as a strong support for politicians and other decisionmakers. Implementation research can explore how promising approaches perform in different cultural contexts. This requires interdisciplinary research as well as effective knowledge transfer between research and politicians.
Alternative treatment options
Development of alternative treatments has the potential to replace antibiotics in some cases, which could directly decrease our antibiotic use and thereby the development of resistance. Combining antibiotics with novel treatments can also be a way to make first-line antibiotics regain efficacy to resistant infections, thereby limiting the need to use last-line antibiotics.